Mosquito, the upcoming British fighter drone, will fly in 2023.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston, said at defence show DSEI 2021:
“Project Mosquito, our autonomous combat aircraft has continued to advance at pace, building on the £30m contract awarded to the Spirit Aerospace-led Team Mosquito to design and manufacture a demonstrator that could form part of the Combat Air force mix.
In collaboration with the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office and Dstl, as well as Northrop Grumman UK and Intrepid Minds, Team Mosquito are working hard to meet our objectives of proving dramatic cost and timescale reductions using enhanced digital design and pioneering manufacturing technologies.
The physical models now on display in the RAF Zone are representative and reflect the developing maturity of the design. They are displayed in scale matching the Tempest model, representing a potential four-ship of the future. This is a game-changing project, in every sense, and it is going really well. So much so, that I’m confident enough to announce that we will see the Mosquito demonstrator flying in UK airspace by the end of 2023, perhaps even for DSEI 23.”
And you can also find Mosquito models flanking the concept of a core aircraft to showcase how the Future Combat Air System could involve a whole network of capabilities, including supporting uncrewed aircraft #DSEI2021 pic.twitter.com/kZg2eDU3ip
— Team Tempest (@TeamTempestUK) September 14, 2021
According to the Royal Air Force, the Mosquito is known as a ‘loyal wingman’. Flying alongside manned jets, these aircraft will be able to target and shoot down enemy aircraft and intercept surface to air missiles.
Spirit AeroSystems in Belfast were recently selected to lead Team MOSQUITO in the next phase of the project. Team MOSQUITO, which also includes Northrop Grumman UK, will mature the designs and manufacture a technology demonstrator to generate evidence for a follow-on Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) programme, you can read more about that here.
Team MOSQUITO, which also includes Northrop Grumman UK, will mature the designs and manufacture a technology demonstrator to generate evidence for the LANCA programme. If successful, Project Mosquito’s findings could lead to this revolutionary capability being deployed alongside the Typhoon and F-35 Lightning jets by the end of the decade.
“The Project will deliver a demonstration of a capability that the RAF may wish to develop further in the future,” a spokesperson from the RAF said.
“It is not intended to output an operational capability at this stage, but it will inform future decisions for the future UK combat air capability. We are exploring the optimum way in which such capabilities could complement platforms such as Typhoon, F-35, and Tempest.”